I have a home !!
Now that I have a real home again, four months of wandering and discovering new places are over. Of course, everything is still lost and will be for awhile. I am settled into my apartment overlooking the beach and the sea here in Parksville. At low tide, the water recedes a long way, leaving a very big sandy beach, perfect for kids but still great for adults to swim.
Book sales of 'Living On the Edge' have been very good, despite limited promotion. The comments have been very positive and interesting, surprising to me. It is a strange feeling to be asked for my signature on copies of the book!!
It has been raining relentlessly, as it has been all fall. I expected rain while travelling to the North and the West coast of the Island, normal for there. Lots of nice days helped to make the trip north a very pleasant experience.
One of best days in Campbell River included a visit to the dam and the waterfalls. Elk Falls Provincial Park is minutes out of town. A suspension bridge takes you to the falls. The power-producing dam was releasing water to the falls at eight times normal flow, to raise the level of the Campbell River, to help salmon make their way upstream to spawn. The falls were spectacular. Btw, home for five weeks was at a Lodge on the Campbell River, lots of fishermen, and a few seals having lunch.
Continuing on that road to the west for an hour or so, takes you to a small town called Gold River. Not too far past it the road ties you into waterways to the west coast. The town is isolated enough that there is no cell phone coverage, unless there is Wifi. It is an amazing place with friendly people, where nobody is in a hurry.
Heading northwest from Campbell River to Port Hardy, the highway goes inland through forests, lakes, and rivers, a trip well worth taking. The first town out of CR is Sayward, not much activity there, but as always, interesting. Indigenous symbols adorn an awesome welcome sign.
Other communities along the way included Telegraph Cove, out of season but still quite active. In season, it fills with tourists. Port McNeil is situated on an inlet, with ferry service to Alert Bay. The road runs through Woss and Nimpkish along the way, forestry towns. Port Alice was slightly out of the way, did not visit. Near the end of the road lies Port Hardy, a larger town with everything. A major ferry port just out of town runs to Prince Rupert and Bella Coola.
Minutes on a ferry from CR went to Quadra Island, running every hour with full loads. Quadra is a fairly big island with some beautiful spots, like Rebecca Spit camping site. The day trip was worth it.
All for now.
Not Homeless ...
I have managed to build the website with many many more photos. Have a look, at www.neilselinger.ca Very soon more stores will have the book available for purchase. I would recommend the FriesenPress Bookstore, as it is the least expensive.
It would appear that my suite is ready, and the building is approved by the City for occupancy. It has been four months of expecting to move in, only to face another and another delay. It was an opportunity to tour the Island, but it will be good to have a home. Move in date is November 4th, The rest of the winter will be spent trying to find things.
It has been interesting lately here at a hotel in Parksville. Couple days ago, about 25 cops and 25 police cars, fire trucks, a swat team and several plain-clothes police took over the place in a lockdown. Finally about three hours later they took a man out of the room next to mine in handcuffs. The next day there was a kafuffle in the hallway. The client next door to me had a heart attack and passed. Again the place was in lockdown, with police, fire trucks, ambulance, paramedics, and the coroner, all gathered outside my door for about three hours, while I was not allowed to leave. Crazy.
Next note will be about what happened in Campbell River and area during a six-week stay there.
Being Homeless ...
October 23, 2021
After a year of writing, and into the publishing mode, changes were happening. The condo that I was living in was sold.
The condo had been a safe haven for me, a place to keep my few personal possessions, and a place to live for the short time between travels away from home. It was perfect for me, being cost-effective and convenient. For the owner, I paid some rent and groceries. This worked just fine, but when Covid hit, I became a fixture at this address.
For the owner, selling the condo meant less cost, such as $550/month condo fees. There are pros and cons to this strategy, like freedom to move and having cash to invest, or, being required to move with lack of a secure long-term lease.
At a time of wild price swings, the value of the unit had dramatically increased, making it a good time to be financially liquid. I understand completely, as I had done the same thing in Kelowna five years earlier.
The plan was to move into a new-construction rented suite, to be ready for occupancy on July 1, 2021. However, due to the Covid situation, materials were not readily available and workers were being paid to stay at home. As a result, the occupancy date extended from July 1 to Aug 1 to Sep 1 to Oct 1 to Nov 1. And Nov 1 is not guaranteed, but looks possible at this point. The postal boxes are not available yet, but the City of Parksville will soon be inspecting to approve the licence to occupy. There is one elevator inspector on the Island, so not sure if that is done, with the myriad of new buildings going up.
Incidentally, when my personal belongings went to storage in July, it was anticipated that the unit would be ready to move into by Aug. Most of my clothes went to deep storage, including long pants. Now here it is, November looming, and I am in shorts, with no long pants in sight. Good thing it does not get cold here. The rest of my belongings have been in storage for three years now. It will be a long time to find anything again when it is brought to my new place called Home.
We were out of the condo in early July. An Airbnb was available in downtown Nanaimo, at a reasonable cost. At this time travel was just starting to be more open in British Columbia. People caged in isolation were finally able to get away, especially in the smokey areas of BC. Vancouver Island became a target spot for vacationers, no smoke, so prices rose out of sight for any accommodation, if you could find one. The bnb was very livable for four weeks, despite living on a cliff which required 48 steps down to the car, or 36 steps up to the street to leave the place. There was a good Mexican restaurant next door, and a great bar down the street that served The BEST wings on Wednesday happy hour. Survival was not a problem. The one annoying thing was the sea gulls using my car for target practice, every day.
From the bnb, the next home was a nice hotel downtown Nanaimo. The extended stay price was reasonable, for a room overlooking the Lighthouse Pub, the Dinghy Dock Pub, the floatplane pier, and a large marina. It was even closer to the favourite bar with the Wednesday wings, two minutes walk to get there and twelve minutes to get back to the hotel.
A day was spent at the WildPlay Nanaimo park, an amazing place. A visit to Ladysmith Legion was interesting. A search for my long-lost brother-in-law turned up his neighbour, but the bro was nowhere to be found.
Time was filled with visits to many restaurants, a chance to find some favourites. Every form of breakfast was tried, with Subway sandwiches and the Fairway Market being the winners.
After three weeks at the Dorchester, with a great view from the room, it was time to move on and explore.
More next time.
Picture is from hotel room in Nanaimo. Across the water is Protection Island, and the Dinghy Dock Pub.
Travelling - COVID Times
Oct 15, 2021
Strange things have happened since the arrival of the Covies. It started with jokes about the Corona, a virus and a beer, to a timely departure from Bucerias in Mexico to where my hat hangs in Parksville. I live on Vancouver Island in BC Canada, where I spent the long term of isolation.
Having set aside plans for a three month visit to Japan, a year of writing produced the book and a file of images. That was a pleasant endeavour, having many forgotten memories restored of the adventures from a couple of decades skipping about the planet. The self-publishing of the book was an unfamiliar affair, difficult at times but quite rewarding, and not a big problem thanks to the never-ending help from the Publisher, FriesenPress.
As always, there was a choice to whine and pine while in isolation, or to find something positive to do. I am very happy that I had the opportunity to write these stories, and get them published in a book that will be available to the public very soon.
The website is another story. I am having a difficult time with it, totally unfamiliar. I try to do something, and an unrelated change happens that I cannot undo, driving me nuts. The problem has been the weak internet ability to upload data, a result of trying to work out of hotels. Oh well, another challenge to engage in while it is raining cats and dogs again.
There has been a bit of a problem over the last four months, one could say I am homeless and living out of a shopping cart. Not really, and it provided the opportunity to do some exploring.
I will tell more about that, and how I spent that time in another story.
Ciao for now
Neil Selinger is the author of Living On the Edge.